Study: Climate Change Puts 4.2 Million People in Caribbean, Pacific Islands at Risk

Study: Climate Change Puts 4.2 Million People in Caribbean, Pacific Islands at Risk

A new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) estimates that 4.2 million people in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and in the Pacific are living in areas that are prone to flooding due to rising sea levels.

In addition to coastal erosion, rising sea levels are expected to negatively impact economic output and employment, and could aggravate inflation and cause an increase in government debt, according to the study, A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States.

“Caribbean and Pacific coastal cities are on the frontlines of climate change,” said Michael G Donovan, senior urban specialist at the IDB, co-author of the study. “It is critical to adapt and improve the resilience of cities in coastal zones, especially those experiencing rapid urbanisation.

“Mayors in port cities across the globe could benefit from the policies that Small Island Developing States are developing as their governments respond to coastal transformation,” he added.

The study says one out of five residents of Caribbean and Pacific SIDS live in low-elevation coastal zones, which are defined as areas with elevations less than 10 metres above sea level.

This is most extreme in The Bahamas and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where over 80 per cent of the population live at low elevations, the study says.

The IDB said the good news is that the international community has begun responding to the challenge.

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SOURCE: Jamaica Observer